21 Ways to save money this year
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21 Tips From A 21-Year-Old Finance Major On How To Save Money This Year

Yes, I'm telling you that you've been paying $1 more to have the word Delmonte on your can of peaches.

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21 Tips From A 21-Year-Old Finance Major On How To Save Money This Year
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I'm 21 years old and haven't even graduated college yet so who am I to tell someone how to save money, right? I'm obviously no professional (yet), but I do have a pretty nice-looking bank account for a 21-year-old college student, I work hard for what I have and I'm pretty good at saving money so here's a few methods I would recommend to help anyone save money this year.

Pick a number 0-9.

Each time you run across a dollar bill (or maybe a $5 if you're feeling risky) with the serial number ending in the number you chose, save it. At the end of the year put that money in savings account or reward yourself or family with a nice treat.

If it jingles, put it in a piggy bank. 

Keep all your change! Whenever you use cash put your jingle change in a jar or a cup and when it feels up, put it in savings! This may seem like it takes forever but a few cups of change can add up to $100 plus a year.

Use a visual

if you are saving for people other than yourself. Many people find comfort in seeing a chart or visual fill up. Name it something fun like "Magical Disney Vacation" or "Summer Beach Trip" so it reminds everyone that the end result of saving money is a fun and positive thing. Encourage your kids to help you fill in the chart and it will likely encourage them to save as well. They may even be willing to contribute their allowance occasionally if it means they get to fill in the chart. A win-win for everyone!

Stop ordering cocktails! Okay not really, but hear me out. 

Stop ordering a cocktail every time you go to dinner. It may not seem like much but let's break it down:

If you and your significant other go to dinner twice a week and both order one $7 cocktail each time, that's $28 a week. With 52 weeks in a year, that adds up to $1,456 a year! Have a cocktail at home before you leave or make it a fun game and have your honey make a drink for you. Try finding a copy-cat recipe of your favorite drink instead of spending that extra dough!

Hello, Mom. It's me... again. 

Ride out that family phone plan as long as you can. Okay maybe this one is a little rude, but really. Phone plans are expensive so leave it up to mom and dad as long as you can. If they are ready for you to have your own plan, maybe work out a deal with them where you are still on their plan, but you pay them every month because chances are a family plan works out to be less expensive than an individual one.

Buy store brand.

BUY STORE BRAND. There are a few exceptions to the store brand concept, but for the most part the name brand and the store brand are likely made by the same company. I KNOW! CRAZY RIGHT?! Yes, I'm telling you that you've been paying $1 more to have the word Delmonte on your can of peaches.

Always buy local when you can.

If there is a local farmers market on your way to the store, stop there and grab all the produce you can. Believe it or not, your local farmers want your business, therefore, they will likely have cheaper prices to keep your coming back and I promise those 3 for $1 locally grown tomatoes will taste way better than the 2 for $5 organic, natural, non-GMO crap they imported to Kroger.

If you don't have the cash, put it back.

Okay. This one might be hard but try only spending the cash you have. When you get paid, take care of any bills and then withdraw some cash to "live off of" for that pay period. This may take a little budgeting but if you physically have to give up cash at the register you will be more mindful of your spending than if you are just swiping a debit card. If you have money left in the end, put it in savings.

Dig out that old lunchbox. 

Take your lunch. If you work in an office or if you get a lunch break, take your lunch a few days a week. Grabbing 5 $10 lunches a week ends up being $200 a month. It's okay to reward yourself with a non-brought lunch occasionally but your wallet will thank you if you start bringing your lunch on a regular basis.

There is nothing better than free money... from your boss. 

Get your employer involved with your savings. Chances are your employer offers some type of "company match" for your 401k plan. Yes, even if you're in your 20s you should be thinking about a retirement plan. Whatever your company is willing to match, try to maximize that, it's literally free money!

It's time to ditch the french tips, ladies. 

Ladies, this one is for you. Chances are many of you will stop reading after this one. You do not need to get your nails done all the time. $35 every two weeks for a "fresh set" adds up to $420 a year. For many people, that nearly a week's pay. If you insist of getting your nails done, maybe try to stretch it to every three weeks or make it an occasional treat to go with a friend or your daughter.

When you scream for ice cream, your wallet does too. 

Don't be afraid to say no to ice cream after soccer practice. Maybe that's a little specific but my point is, kids are easy to please (for the most part). Stop by the store and get a gallon of ice cream and some chocolate syrup and sit around the kitchen table and devour it as a family. It may not be fancy, but I promise you and your kids will enjoy telling friends that you killed a gallon of ice cream with you family instead of killing your wallet with $35 worth of Sweet Frog.

Know what you can afford before you leave your house.

Know how much you can spend at the grocery store, know how much of a car payment you can afford before you get a new one, know how much you can spend at the bar. No matter what you are doing, know what you can afford so you don't over spend and end up having to put in on a credit card.

Build an emergency fund ASAP

Whether it's in a savings account or cash under your mattress, everyone needs an emergency fund. Depending on your lifestyle and your family this amount may vary but just put some money aside to sit there in case something happens such as a flat tire, a medical emergency, you forget a friend's big birthday, anything can happen so have a little money aside for emergencies.

Stop what you're doing and make a budget.

Make a budget. Let me say it again. MAKE A BUDGET. This is one of the most important tools to being financially successful. Chances are if you don't have a budget, you may not realize where your money is going or how much you are actually spending. Not having a budget is not good, just saying.

Clip coupons. 

I'm not saying to spend hours every week to become an extreme couponer because honestly, no one with a life has time for that, but don't be embarrassed to use a coupon that crosses your path if you see one for something you need anyway. If you know you are going to dinner and can't decide where to go, go where you have a coupon to. If you see $1.50 off paper towels, clip that thing out. Don't be embarrassed to save money.

Buy a reusable water bottle. 

Stop what you're doing right now and go buy everyone in your family a reusable water bottle. The United States has some of the cleanest drinking water on the entire planet, there is no need to ever buy another case of water. Enough said.

Learn your way around a kitchen. 

If you can't cook, learn how to. Call you mom, your aunts, your cousins and ask then their favorite simple recipes. Cooking can save you soooo much money and you won't have to get dressed you leave your house every time you want food.

No, you don't need airpods.

Realize that you don't need all the newest technology. Just because the newest iPhone comes out, it doesn't mean you need it. If your phone, computer, and headphones still work and aren't falling apart you don't need to spend a couple hundred dollars on them when you could be saving that money.

Pay down your credit balances. 

Start with the credit card with the lowest balance and completely pay it off first while making your minimum payments on any other credit you have. This will save you money in the long run because you will have one less payment drawing interest every month. Also, try to never be late on a payment because it will raise your interest rates. If you are late on a payment and you normally aren't, call the company and ask for forgiveness. Normally the company will not penalize you for being late one time.

Be consistent. 

When you find a money saving technique that works for you or for you and your family, stick to it. It may take a little while to find your grove, but it will be so encouraging when the savings start to add you and you are finally able to reward yourself.

Saving money isn't easy by any means, especially if you are used to living paycheck to paycheck. It will take time to find a money saving strategy that works for you and you aren't going to have an amazing looking bank account right out of college or even in your late 20s or early 30s (unless you just get lucky), but regardless everyone should be trying to save money and think about the future of your finances. Just don't give up!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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